This picture was taken by a mountain biker in a canyon here in Orange County. The actual canyon is not known to me, but the thought of riding my bike around a corner and taking a spill on or near these snakes, would just make me wet my pants repeatedly!!
But, I don't live near there, so no problem right? Well, sort of. Some weeks ago, Lela was out walking, a morning exercise regime that happens every other day or so, and she heard the sound of rattles in a near by bush. She was able to quickly move past and a life threatening event was a non-event. A few weeks later, Lela was out again and this time, she came upon a snake on the grass. From the sounds of the description, the rattlesnake had just begun the process of digestion, and was about 4 ft long. This was a much closer encounter with the wild. Both of these instances were a decent distance from our house. You could walk there, but they were not likely to crawl here.
That is, until a neighbor told Lela the other day of a startling discovery. I believe that her son discovered some baby rattlesnakes in the bushes right where the kids play every day! BABY RATTLESNAKES!! Great! Of course, it would just so happen that in one of my sermons, I have a brilliant illustration using baby rattlesnakes. The illustration, of what I actually do not remember, recounts how baby rattlesnakes are much more potent that their adult counterparts because they are unable to regulate the use of their venom. A mature, adult snake, knows just how much venom to use and not an ounce more (Hey, there might be an illustration there as well!) whereas, baby snakes just let it all hang out, thus producing a lethal combination.
Did I mention they are right in the bushes around the corner from our house!?
Now, I am not a snake hater nor do I have a fear of snakes. I truly and REALLY respect them! I don't mind seeing one as long as it's from a decent distance, say roughly 10 to 15 feet. And the thought that I could just happen upon one, has begun to change life. For example, we live in Ladera Ranch, which is not a place that you have to be that careful in. I generally walk at a quick pace, with iPod on, scanning the beauty of the hills and greenery around me. That has had to change.
I no longer walk around very casually. I keep my eyes peeled on the ground, scanning the bushes and the grass. Most of the time, I leave the iPod back at the house or if it is with me, it's off, as I listen for the sound of rattles. I have considered buying hip boots so that I might have an extra line of defense against the reptilian threat. I am sure that Lela is following similar protocals with regard to the kids and their playing.
Oh, but wait: There's More! (Thank you Ron Popeil!) So, the gross cousins of the filthy snakes are the Ladera Spiders. Now, last year, before the snakes came to town, there were the vile spiders. These spiders spin these really wide webs that cover the entire sidewalk. You do not see the webs until the very last second, and sometimes, not even then. Last year, the family and I were walking to blockbuster, when I walked straight into a web and the spider walked straight into my mouth!!! Yes, I had a live spider IN MY MOUTH!!! He got spit out as fast as I could get him out of my mouth, but he was a momentary guest.
So last night, I am coming out of the pool area. It's about 10PM, so I am not so worried about the snakes, who generally come out in the heat of the day. I am pumped that I almost made it across the pool without stopping, which is my August goal. (For those who do not know about my new venture of swimming, see this blog post here.) Well, my celebration is short lived, as I AGAIN walk right into a spider web, FACE FIRST! No mouth contact this time, but a "web sight" I don't ever want to visit again!!
It's just not very relaxing at all! All of this reminded me of a verse from Ephesians 5:15.
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
This is how I walk! I walk around watching my feet and walking a bit slower so as to see the web before it sees me! I walk wisely that way.
Perhaps, I needed the picture spiritually as well! Maybe I needed the new illustration. There are days that I walk as though there is no war, no enemy and no consequence. I forget that while I am free from attacks, relatively speaking, that they could start again just as quickly as they left. The enemy takes no days off, he has no vacation (or "STAYcation" as the term goes in Orange County) plans. The fight for daily, progressive sanctification, a fight against my flesh, and against the enemy, never stops! How then shall we walk?
Maybe this little story will remind you as it did me!
Blessings...To Our Friends,
910 words...The winner of the "picture is worth a 1,000 words": The Yellow Hola Yelling Man! If you guessed that, you win...nothing! But it was fun anyway...right?